The Bond That Started It All
Scott T. Rivers | Los Angeles, CA USA | 02/09/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A landmark film in many respects, "Dr. No" (1962) introduced Ian Fleming's 007 to cinema audiences. Despite the author's initial objections, Sean Connery defined the character of James Bond with his remarkably self-assured performance. Ursula Andress' iconic beauty and Joseph Wiseman's restrained villainy were equally memorable. Thanks to the contributions of director Terence Young, set designer Ken Adam, editor Peter Hunt and composer John Barry, the 007 style was immediately established in this Jamaican adventure. Producers Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli should be applauded for getting the most out of their limited budget. "Dr. No" succeeds as an unpretentious spy thriller - minus the gadgetry and gimmicks in later Bond outings. The film's impact on popular culture cannot be underestimated."
Bond on Blu.....at last!!!
Nats | MD USA | 10/23/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My comments apply only to the newly released Blu Ray version.
I will not review the film it's self since everyone has no doubt seen it at least once.
I have waited 2 years for the Bond films to be released in a HD format, and the waite was worth it.
The picture quality of this old film is simply awesome. The color saturation, the "depth" and contrast are very film-like.
I felt like I was discovering the film for the very first time.
Watching it on my 60'' display, it looked like I was seeing a brand new, fresh from the lab, film print in my own living room.
And it gets better, I am told (but havent viewed my copy yet) that Thunderball looks even better.
If you are a Connery James Bond fan, and own Blu Ray, this is a no-brainer.
Highest possible recommendation, and Amazon has it for a good price.
Great first EON outing for legendary spy
Darren Harrison | Washington D.C. | 04/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Outside of Bond fandom very few people know that Sean Connery was actually the second actor to play the character of James Bond. In the 1950s there had been a television production based around Ian Fleming's first spy novel "Casino Royale" in which American actor Barry Nelson had played 007 as a US spy with Clarence Leiter as his British counterpart. Fast forward to the early 1960s and work is once again getting underway to bring the fictional spy to the screen. Cast in the lead role is what one UA executive referred to as a "lorry driver" and with a small budget (a measly $1 million) there seems to be little hope for the fledgling franchise. Yet when Doctor No (the final choice for the first of the series) hits screens it changes the film industry, sending reverberations the likes of which are still being felt today. Staying largely faithful to the Fleming book of the same name (something that was not to last) the rather modest movie set screens afire, helped enormously by the performances of Sean Connery and Swiss beauty Ursula Andress. In fact for many, Andress is the quintessential Bond girl, establishing one of cinema's most iconic images as she emerges from the sea in a white bikini). Right away the trademark violence is evident as three assassins murder a British operative and his pretty secretary in Jamaica. The break in communication has the British nervous and they send for their top agent. Switch to a smoky casino in London. And we see the back of a man, his hands moving his cards about the table and then taking a cigarette out of its case. Lighting it he is fully revealed and the trademark line "Bond, James Bond" is heard on cinema screens for the very first time. Arriving in Jamaica Bond learns that the missing operative was investigating the mysterious character of Doctor No who operates from a private island named Crab Key. Determined to learn the truth he arranges to sneak onto the island with his colleague Quarrel to discover the truth behind the disappearance. Taken on its own Doctor No is a nice, taut, suspenseful movie with some wonderful performances from its leads. New York actor Joseph Wiseman is particularly chilling as the title character with his metal hands (some disfigurement or quirk has since become a necessity for Bond villains). Taken as the initial outing in a franchise the movie is a low-key effort that ably sets the stage for the films that were to follow. Today this movie rarely tops people's lists as a favorite in the series, but that is largely because in the ensuing years the Bond series came to mean spectacle and special effects, often at the expense of good storytelling. Initially released on DVD in the cardboard snapper cases with only Bond trivia to complement it, in 2000 MGM did the movie justice by reissuing it as a special edition with improved video and audio and a nice collection of extra's. For the time the Bond special editions were considered the "cream of the crop" as far as DVD releases were concerned. Here we have an audio commentary which is comprised of spliced together interviews from earlier - many behind the camera had since passed on including director Terence Young. An easy movie and DVD to recommend."
Setting the Standard for Britain's Dedicated Civil Servant
gobirds2 | New England | 01/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I always considered DR. NO to be one of the better Bond films and closer to the literary James Bond created by Ian Fleming. Sean Connery's performance is that of the no-nonsense dedicated civil servant. His screen presence alone conveys the physical, intellectual and moral conviction of the character. He is essentially a modern day version of the white knight slaying the dragon for Queen and country.
Joseph Wiseman as Dr. No is one of the best villains of the series. His steel mono-toned performance is eerily unsettling. He remains one of the most enigmatic villains in the series. He is a villain moved more by unfounded revenge than by greed or riches. You almost sympathize with him as he makes futile overtures to Bond imploring him to join his organization. It seems that Bond is the only man capable of appreciating his intellect. Not even Dr. No's backers, Blofeld and S.P.E.C.T.R.E. are worthy of his talents.
Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder leaves one of the most indelible images of the series as she emerges from the sea clad in her white bikini. She is characterized by the simplicity of her goodness and naivet as she is drawn into a vortex of worldliness that Bond further engulfs her in. Rather than that of a supposed sex object, she exudes a raw femininity found only in nature. Bond can not help but feel that he has corrupted her both deliberately and inadvertently in his blind quest to revenge the deaths of fellow agents. This is the very strength of Richard Maibaum's script, here and on subsequent Bond films.
These films, the better ones, are about Bond, his adversaries, his loves and his friendships. Jack Lord was the first of many actors to play Felix Leiter, Bond's CIA friend. "Friend" in the world of James Bond is not a word used casually. Lord seemed the one actor to visually convey the camaraderie that existed between these two characters. John Kitzmiller gave a very good performance as the loyal Quarrel, one of the most important characters in he entire series. This character epitomized the dormant qualities found in the instincts of the common man. When called upon in the death struggle of good vs. evil he is prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Anthony Dawson as Professor Dent seems perfect as a man who knew better than fall into an inescapable web of subterfuge that Dr. No has spread from his island to the mainland. Zena Marshall as Miss Taro is a more willing participant, as she appears eager to overtly display her sensuality and share her sexual appetites openly with Bond. She is supposed to lure Bond to his death. Finding this not the case she enthusiastically offers herself to Bond. It is in these scenes that Sean Connery displays a certain animal screen presence that no other actor has ever equaled in the role.
Many elements that distinguish a James Bond movie were introduced in this film. The opening gun barrel trademark, "The James Bond Theme," Bernard Lee's portrayal of the inimitable M, Lois Maxwell's portrayal of the desirable Miss Moneypenny, Ken Adam's innovative and distinctive production designs, Maurice Binder's unique main titles, the "Martinis shaken not stirred," just to name a few are all here.
Director, Terence Young, always boasted and took relish in how he supposedly shaped the look and feel of the James Bond series. This is quite possibly true when looking at DR. NO. It is a film visually rich with well-detailed and defined characters. It also has an uncanny feel for the settings inspired from the Ian Fleming novels whether it be Bond's intelligence headquarters in London, the exotic sights and sounds of Jamaica or the incongruity of Dr. No's plush lair hidden in the mosquito invested swamps of Crabe Key.
DR. NO is also characterized by quick paced editing by Peter Hunt. Hunt's innovative technique keeps the story moving visually and unobtrusively which also further defines the cinematic world of James Bond.
But coming full circle, it is Sean Connery's performance and screen presence that intrigues and captures the imagination of the viewer. Given the sets, the music, the script, the locations and all the other elements, it all comes down to how Sean Connery fits and moves through this cinematic world that has been created for James Bond. Sean Connery's performance is indeed that of Britain's dedicated civil servant. DR. NO is the benchmark.
The restoration of the picture and sound on this DVD edition of DR. NO s outstanding. The images are outstanding. A very good job was done re-mastering the sound in digital stereo. There is very good stereo separation. The extras are pretty good too concentrating a lot on Ian Fleming's creation of James Bond."